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Final Fantasy VI (Super Nintendo) Review

Review for Final Fantasy VI on Super Nintendo - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The Final Fantasy series is well known by all around the world nowadays. However, there was a time when Europe was all but oblivious to Squaresoft's ubiquitous RPG franchise. The time before Final Fantasy VII...The sixth game in total and the third on the Super Nintendo was classed as pure brilliance upon its US release, but how does it stand in comparison to role-players in today's market? Read on and all will be revealed!

A strange-looking girl, wearing a controlling crown, and two soldiers, all inside large Magitek armour are on their way to devastate the quiet town of Narshe and examine an Esper – a previously presumed extinct magical species. However, upon finally reaching this Esper, matters take a turn for the worst and eventually the girl wakes up in a foreign house, sans captors, with an old man who manages to remove the head device, giving her the opportunity to recall memories. However, before she has had the chance to remember more than her name, ‘Terra’, more guards come to town looking to reclaim her. Luckily, a treasure hunter called Locke (who hates the term ‘thief’) enters through the back and agrees to help Terra escape through the mines at the rear of the building…And so begins a long and epic adventure of good and evil, conspiracies and plots, fun times and moments of sadness – all of which will hold you breathless until the very end!

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VI on Super Nintendo - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

These were the 16bit days, so in no way were any of us treated to full-blown, grandiose FMV sequences, the likes of which Square Enix’s games are littered with nowadays. There was no 3D powerhouse technology being used here either – just plain old 2D wizardry from a developer with great artistic talent. Yes, whilst not a patch on the Final Fantasy games on the PlayStation consoles, FFVI (to give it its true Japanese numbering) was easily one of the most terrific of luxuries to be had on the humble SNES. After trying its hands on earlier hits such as Secret of Mana, Mystic Quest and Final Fantasy II US (or IV in Japan), the crisp two-dimensional visuals on show seemed to have come forth naturally. Each tiny character and the separate buildings, structures and creatures met have an amazing amount of detail packed in, with many occurrences happening on-screen and little to no slowdown either. Likening this to a CD-ROM title at the time of release was a great compliment; the fact that it still looks as gorgeous as ever today is even greater praise. Practically flawless…

Nobuo Uematsu is famous within the Industry for his extraordinary musical work, with his level of expertise preceding any new Square Enix games featuring his name on the credits, his orchestral pieces remaining so prolific that he performs at concerts that sell out almost immediately and he even releases CD compilations that become best sellers! Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the orchestrated pieces that make up FFVI’s score are in the upper echelons of SNES music and barely ever sounds like plain old cartridge MIDI tunes, but high CD quality instead. From the threatening opening dirge to the all-too-familiar menu lilt, to the moving, sad moments, rousing battle themes and even the frequent comical sections – nothing is ever out of place and all blends together the way all games’ music should…

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VI on Super Nintendo - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Unlike the Zelda series, Final Fantasy's main role-playing adventure does not fall under the 'Action RPG' mantel, which in other words means you, the gamer, are faced with the concept of turn-based, stats-fuelled combat and general adventuring. Now, whilst this is exactly what deterred many Westerners back in the 1990s, in all honesty an RPG of this mould actually calls for a more strategic, thought-based approach that really engages the mind and stimulates the player into protecting their team more vehemently.

Final Fantasy III US sees players take control of up to three people at any one time to battle against the various enemies you encounter, be they random or mandatory in nature, using an 'Active Time Battle' system whereby each of your team must wait until his/her time bar fills up before making any type of move. This leads to the idea of taking turns between the enemy and members of your fighting force and it is because of this style that great pre-planning must go into almost every move that you make. But it is not just a case of you hit, then the enemy hits, as there are many factors that come into play, turning FFIII from what could have been a travesty into a fully-fledged RPG dream.

Before the majority of your more difficult fights have begun to rain down from above, you will have collected special 'magicite' stones from the Espers mentioned in the story. Equipping one of these to whichever of your group can wear it, will gradually cause new spells to be learnt and can completely affect the way that they level-up by adding or restricting certain aspects such as Magical Defence or Hit Points total. Once enough experience has been gained with one stone attached and all the use has been exhausted, a simple switch to another player can ensure your safe passage through the lengthy game and its multitude of side-quests and arduous challenges. Wise use of Esper magicite can be the difference between success and complete failure, so it is a very important facet of play.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VI on Super Nintendo - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

So once mastered, you can safely progress in the knowledge that everything will be fine. However, a poor understanding of battling will always be a downfall for many. Mastering the right balance of offensive and healing /defensive battling is the key, as well as clever use of magic and special character abilities (Mog's dancing and Locke's stealing being worthy of mention). There are other aspects that help to make the gameplay so entertaining, like the limit breaks - powerful moves that can be executed randomly when your player is at a near death status, saving your skin at the last moment. RPGs require a modicum of player control and outside luck, which FFIII US has in spades and makes it one of the most pleasing Final Fantasy titles to date...

With Final Fantasy VI being split into two separate chapters as such, each one immensely large in their own right, there are so many hours-worth of play time within that many will not have time to get through everything or uncover and of the hidden events and characters that are squeezed into the already jam-packed cartridge. Talking of characters, there are a massive fourteen or so to have in your team throughout the journey, each of whom has amazingly detailed and intriguing back stories and special hidden events that when discovered will leave you with a huge sense of achievement. Top this off with the difficult battles, both of the random and boss variety, and brain-teasing puzzles and sixty-plus hours on the clock is certainly no exaggeration...

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VI on Super Nintendo- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

You would be hard-pressed to find even another Square title that manages to be a simple, yet deep, complex, yet extremely intuitive and overall as damn enjoyable as FFVI!

Graphics

It is clearly evident that Square had a superb grasp of the SNES' inner workings, as the amount of intricate detail included is extraordinary!

Sound

To manage to produce CD quality music from the standard MIDI confines of a cartridge is one achievement. But to make the entire soundtrack so memorable is pure genius.

Value

Sixty or so hours may be seen as a negative point, but not in this case as everything within, be it a special event, hidden secret, obtainable extra character or just the general play itself, is totally captivating.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Looking back up at those score you might have guessed the final score. However, as you should know by now, C3 is not about 'averages', so FFIII US misses out on the elusive '10' rating as it does not quite reach perfection. What it does do, though, is manage to break its way into the Top 5 RPGs of all time! This was one of Squaresoft's defining moments, so be sure not to miss out on it at any cost.

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15.10.2004

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Developer

Squaresoft

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

i've been having problems getting in since monday. tonight seems to be really bad for some reason, took me about 10mins and several hundred refreshs to get in.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

We'll be back and running full steam soon enough! :Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
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Gesthal (guest) 14.11.2009 05:13#3

lol doesn't get a ten because it was no perfection. this is probably the single game that was made with love and dedication to the craft. Something that all games fall short of now.
This game is a 10, give us an example of what you think is better then this and I can tell you why it is not.

hmmm (guest) 25.11.2012 12:09#4

i find interesting is all the values such as gameplay and stuff got all 10's. but its overall is still a 9? very unrealistic if you ask me. 

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